So… This is Christmas

IF ye be wondering…

Mother nature, the internets and school have all conspired against me.  I haven’t written a word since the last post, though I did reorganize my Nano chapters for easy editing… well, one Nano chapter.  But it’s some amazingly beautiful reorganizing, so I don’t feel too bad.  I got sick, we ran out of internet (don’t laugh, it happens when you pre-pay) and then school.  That’s all I have to say- school.

Gone are the days of Facebooking and Pinteresting at work.  I work during my prep times.  I mean, really work.  I usually don’t get everything done that needs to be done.  I am behind on grading- me, the drama teacher!  I’m supposed to just sit back and watch kids be cute and funny and sometimes dramatic, give ’em a ‘good job’ or yell ‘PROJECT!’ ala Ms. Clay.  But no, now there are rubrics and self-and group-assessments and feedback to give.  I have to REALLY plan because they have to have observable evidence in case anyone walks into my room and asks what the point of my existence is.  The kids have to have videos to show their parents how good (or appallingly bad) they are and so I can prove it if the parents argue that little Johnny deserves an Oscar.

This job has gotten a lot harder.  Standards based grading and I have a love-hate relationship.  I can understand the point, the reasoning.  But I don’t think it’s a blanket strategy for all the classrooms.  My classes, be they music or drama, have always been participation/effort based- obviously, you can’t do well at something like singing or performing if you’re not participating.  I have never graded kids on talent.  I don’t really think it’s fair too, especially when my class is not an elective.  I mean, some kids got it and some kids don’t.  Me, horrible in art (you’ve seen the pictures).  Is it fair that I fail because I have no natural talent?  Even though I’m trying so very hard? 

I’m working very diligently to figure out how to balance talent, effort, and standards.  It’s a process and one which I’m learning to embrace.  Some days, I love it.  A lot of days, I hate it.  It’s such a different way of thinking from the way I was taught and the way I have been teaching… and the thing about teaching, as in most professions, is that it’s cyclical.  I would bet my right arm that before I’m done teaching, standards based grading will be out the window and we’ll be back to saying kids should memorize stuff, take tests and get 100’s and A’s. 

And that, in a nutshell, is why I have already failed myself this month.  I took 3 pictures for the photo challenge and got sick.  I haven’t written anything.  Well, that’s a lie because now I’ve written.  And I’m ready to edit my chapter.  So I’m not hopelessly behind… yet.


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